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Google could soon be searching your desktop too

Google has dominated the online search market for many years now, but it looks like executives in Mountain View have plenty of other targets too — a new patent approved this week points towards an all-encompassing search tool that’s able to look through the apps and files stored on your local computer as well as data in the cloud.

The new “Computer Application Data In Search Results” filing covers computing devices of all kinds, so the idea can cover smartphones and tablets as well as desktops and laptops. Some of the wording in the application — for receiving responses from apps — makes the features sound like the functionality we’ve already seen previewed in Google Now On Tap.

Related: Can Microsoft outsmart Google in search?

As SlashGear reports, the patent covers native applications, remote services, and registered applications, including social, media, and navigation apps. The idea is that searching for a particular term from Windows or Mac would bring up hits from your cloud-based Google services as well as anything you’ve got stored on your hard drive — assuming you give Google permission to access your data, of course.

As always with patent applications, you should treat this as a sign of the way Google’s thinking rather than a confirmation of anything that’s going to appear as a consumer product. With Google now a part of Alphabet, its engineers are free to focus on the technology that made the company famous in the first place.

Google gets a more comprehensive way of targeting you with adverts and you get search results that are more tailored to your own requirements — it’s a familiar trade-off for anyone who’s used one of Google’s products before. Both Microsoft and Apple have worked more personalized search capabilities into their most recent desktop operating systems, and it looks like Google wants to keep pace with those innovations.

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